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Star witness testifies in Pa Mbye, Foday Barry case

Dec 5, 2012, 8:42 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Robert Yaw Danquah, said to be the prosecution’s star witness, yesterday testified in the case involving Pa Habibu Mbye, former crime management coordinator (CMC) at the NDEA and Alh Foday Barry, former director of intelligence and investigation of the same institution, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Babucarr Secka.

The two former senior members of the NDEA are standing trial for the offences of conspiracy to defraud, stealing, abuse of office, uttering false documents, among others.

Danquah told the court that he is a Ghanaian national, and could remember being held in the custody of the NDEA for five weeks incommunicado.

He added that after being in detention for 5 weeks, he demanded to see Foday Barry and asked him whether he was not entitled to a lawyer, and that if not then they needed to contact the Ghanaian government to inform them that he was being held for five weeks by the Gambian NDEA.

"I further asked him why charges are taking so long, but the first accused gave me no reasons as to why charges were taking so long,” Danquad told the court, adding that Ousman Drammeh was later given bail and, one day, when Drammeh came to report on bail and narrated to him his experiences in custody.

“The 1st accused later told me that if I have somebody to bail me, he could come forward. I then contacted Ousman Drammeh whether he knew somebody to arrange for my bail,” Danquah continued.

Danquah further told the court that someone came to bail him, and upon the arrival of the likely surety, the first accused person asked him whether he was aware that he (Danquah) was a dangerous criminal, and that this case had gone international.

He said he told Ousman Drammeh to go and find out from the 1st accused person, and when Ousman returned he informed him that the 1st accused person said he must gave him 200,000 Euros before granting him bail.

He later confirmed from the 1st accused person that if he failed to give the mentioned amount, he would not give him bail.

“I then asked him, ‘Why?’, he said because I am a drug baron who has the money to pay,” Danquah told the court.

“I told him that you should go and prosecute somebody else as a drug baron, not me. The 1st accused told me that I was once convicted, and he had my records. I then knew that the 1st accused person was up to something else, and I decided to escape from their custody to Ghana,” Danquah went on.

“On 16 February 2012, around 4 am at my residence in Ghana, I was working and I heard a gunshot. I thought it was armed robbers, and I later saw two whitemen signalling that I should come down from a storey building,” he added.

He added that before reaching his master bedroom they arrived at his door, and he was put in handcuffs with the support of the Ghanaian police’s drug squad.

“My first question to the whitemen was for the arrest and search warrant. The white man then asked me whether I knew Gazi, and I replied that I did not know him and he later showed me a picture of myself which I recognized was a picture taken in The Gambia at Holgam NDEA in Kanifing,” he stated.

Danquah added that he later realised that it was in connection with his escape from custody in The Gambia, and they handed him over to the Ghananian authorities for 48 hours in custody, and then they took him to a court in Ghana and charged him for drug trafficking.

“I was going through the court until one day when the court informed me that the Gambian authorities have made an extradition report and I was remanded again for two weeks.

“During this period, my lawyer visited me in detention and showed me the documents brought by the 1st accused person, a sworn affidavit that Robert Danquah had been charged with drug trafficking in The Gambia together with another 8 persons for transporting 2 tonnes of cocaine into The Gambia,” he further stated.

Danquah added that all these documents were being sent by the 1st accused person, Foday Barry, without notarizing them.

He added that after 2 weeks in detention, he was taken to court and his lawyer asked the prosecution to produce his cautionary statements, which they could not.

He said his lawyer further demanded the stamped page of his passport to be produced, which was in the hands of the first accused person, but he only produced the back cover of his passport.

“Another charge sheet was prepared against me, sent from The Gambia, indicating that I have conspired with 3 accused persons instead of 8 people now,” he further told the court.

“It was alleged that I have conspired with Gazi, George Sanchez, and Carol Sanchez to transport two tonnes of cocaine into The Gambia,” Danquah added.

He said he was later extradited to The Gambia and, at the airport, he was received by the 1st accused person, Ebrima Jammeh alias Kungi, and commissioner Jatta and other senior members of the NDEA.

He added that he was taken to Holgam and placed in a cell in handcuffs by the first accused person until the following day.

Danquah added that they prepared a charge sheet, and he was taken to court where he was acquitted and discharged.

However, the money and the items recovered from his house were not returned to him, adding that it was in the hands of the NDEA officers who were responsible for his items.

The case was adjourned to today for cross examination.

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